More credit unions today share the vision author Brett King painted a few years ago when he wrote: “Branches must become either intimate customer engagement havens, or locations of opportunity where the branch can maximize point-of-contact.”
Consumer behavior will be the “killer app,” says King, in “Branch Today, Gone Tomorrow.” Your ability to adapt to members’ evolving needs—including where and how they want to do business with you— will determine your success.
To be relevant, he says, you’ll have to deliver your products with the least friction possible.
During a CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council virtual roundtable, speakers discussed the emerging role of the branch manager in this new environment.
They shared the idea that branch managers should adopt a “franchise” mindset, where you’re in business for yourself but not by yourself. They discussed ownership and leadership, and shared six C’s of entrepreneurial branch managers: They’re competitive, confident, competent, communicators, coaches, and committed.
Some credit unions even suggest branch managers need to act as mini-CEOs to steer their branches to success.
Can your branch managers today take your credit union to the next level of service? Can they direct a team that will engage members beyond transaction requests? Can they excel in the much-needed business development role?
Your answers will impact your recruiting and retention plans—and might require you to re-evaluate your compensation philosophy, too.
Hiring and wages are up at credit unions, according to CUNA’s 2014- 2015 Staff Salary Report (cuna.org/compensation). Nearly 30% of credit unions plan to add full-time employees this year, a gradual increase from 25% and 20% in 2013 and 2012, respectively. And at least 60% of credit unions with assets of $200 million or more plan to hire.
In 2014, only 17% of credit unions overall expected to freeze wages, half as many as the 35% in 2012 and 2013—another positive sign for credit unions emerging from the Great Recession. Base salaries for branch managers increased between 3.2% and 4.8%.
But keep this in mind: One of five (21%) workers is planning to switch jobs this year or next, reports a CareerBuilder survey. Some top reasons include dissatisfaction with salary and lack of advancement opportunities.
To fulfill your vision for your credit union and its branches, make sure you offer competitive pay and clear career paths—or your branch managers might be among those looking for better offers.